- Scientists at the European Trans-Uranium Institute at
Karlsruhe in Germany, tracking the movements of all fissionable material
from the former Soviet Unionís nuclear arsenal, have raised suspicions
that Mossad has purchased some of the material to allegedly stop it falling
into the hands of Islamic and other terror groups.
- But there is also the real possibility that Israel has
gone into the nuclear black market to buy fissionable material to bolster
its own huge nuclear arsenal.
- Israel already has one of the worldís largest
arsenals ñ more than capable of decimating all its Arab neighbours.
Its 200 nuclear bombs and missiles are stockpiled in the Negev desert.
- The suspicion that Israel has also started to buy material
stolen from the former Soviet Union surfaced a year ago when a quantity
of Uranium-235 was found in the Paris apartment of three criminals known
to broker arms deals with terror groups like al-Qaeda.
- French intelligence officers arrested the men in an apartment
rented by one, Raymond Loeb. They found documents confirming the uranium
was of weapons-grade quality. Air tickets from Kazakstan were found in
- Loebís partners ñ Serge Salfati and Yves
Ekwella were travelling on Cameron passports.
- The Karlsruhe scientists established the material came
from a nuclear storage site at Chelyanbisk-70 deep in the Ural Mountains.
- A major intelligence operation began to trace the route
along which the material travelled to the French capital: out of the Ukraine
into Poland and across Germany to Paris.
- The material was transported by Russiaís top Mafia
boss, Semyon Yokovich Moglivich.
- He is a specialist in every major crime: whole scale
drug running, money laundering, trafficking in humans and gun-running.
Since 1991, he had positioned himself to exploit the collapse of the Soviet
- To assist him he had obtained an Israeli passport for
himself and 23 of his top associates. The travel documents had been arranged
by the former newspaper tycoon, Robert Maxwell, and Edmund Safra, the US-based
- Later Maxwell was murdered by a Mossad assassination
team after threatening to expose his links to the secret service. Safra
died mysteriously in a fire in his penthouse in Monte Carlo.
- Moglivich still runs the largest criminal family in Moscow,
the Rising Sun. Its current speciality is smuggling fissionable material.
- Graham Alison, a former Assistant Secretary of Defence
in the Clinton Administration and director of Harvardís Centre of
Science and International Affairs, has summarised how easy it is to smuggle
nuclear material. ìA terrorist group could ship enough material
through the mails or by a courier companyî.
- But the Rising Sun is into a much bigger market ñ
supplying Israel with fissionable material that would otherwise end up
in the hands of terrorists like Osama bin Laden.
- That bombshell discovery came to light in the wake of
finding the five grams of uranium in Paris. Consisting of 85 percent enriched
uranium, it was sufficient to make a ìdirty bombî.
- But before Mossad, on behalf of Israel, could buy it
ìout of the marketî, the French had swooped ñ and the
role of Mossad had started to emerge.
- The first clues came from Intel-1. This is a smallish
and highly specialised unit in Dutch intelligence.
- For months before the Paris arrests, it had been investigating
Mossadís role in secretly buying up fissionable materials.
- Intel-1ís investigation has been run out of a
deep bunker ñ ironically built to shelter the Dutch Royal Family
in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack on Amsterdam. The bunker is near
the cityís Central Railway Station. The terminus has been journeyís
end for some of the nuclear materials which have been stolen from Russian
weapons labs including Arzamas-16 in Nizhnii Novgorod, formerly Gorky.
- Senior Mossad officers have insisted to Intel-1 that
precisely because the deadly materials were stolen, their agents purchased
them from the Russian Mafia as ìit was the only way to stop the
material being sold to Islamic and other terror groupsî.
- While conceding that the Mossad claim is plausible, Intel-1
investigators have become convinced that the nuclear materials have been
secretly shipped out of Amsterdamís Schipol Airport to Israel to
boost the countryís own nuclear weapons manufacturing plant at Dimona
in the Negev Desert.
- That Mossad has been trafficking with the Russian Mafia
has rekindled a nuclear nightmare that has never quite gone away. While
the chilling Cold War doctrine of MAD ñ mutually assured destruction
ñ has gone, in its place has come a more dangerous scenario where
nuclear know-how and materials are on sale.
- ìIt is capitalism, Wild East style, in which organised
crime syndicates and government officials work in league to create new
markets for nuclear materials ñ a bazaar with some of the worldís
most dangerous weapons on offer,î said an intelligence source.
- Much of the work of tracing the origins of stolen nuclear
material is done at the European Trans-Uranium Institute. There, scientists
use state-of-the-art equipment to track whether stolen materials have come
from a military or civilian source. But they concede ìitís
like trying to catch a thief who has never been fingerprintedî.
- Mossad has been based at El Alís facility at Schipol
for the past six years, in second-floor offices in the complex ñ
know at Schipol as ìLittle Israelî.
- Intel-1 has established that the link between Mossad
and the airline is an integral part of the traffic in nuclear materials.
- Sources close to Intel-1 insist that Mossad would never
have begun the dangerous business of buying nuclear materials unless those
materials could be safely and secretly transported to Israel.
- A highly efficient organisation like Mossad, supported
by the vast resources Israel puts at its disposal, would have little or
no difficulty in smuggling nuclear materials out of Schipol.
- Intel-1ís interest in such smuggling was first
aroused when it was tipped off that the El Al cargo freighter that crashed
shortly after take-off from Schipol in October 1992 was carrying chemicals
that could be used to produce nerve agents.
- Since then, the agency has gathered what an Intel source
describes as ìat minimum strong circumstantial evidenceî that
Mossad has shipped nuclear materials through Schipol.
- A ìmuleî ñ a courier ñ who
in return for his cooperation was given a guarantee against prosecution,
has told Intel-1 that he had smuggled nuclear materials from the Ukraine
across Germany and finally into Holland.
- The courier has claimed to Intel-1 that he was met at
Amsterdamís Central Station. Shown photographs, the courier picked
out the person. It was a Mossad officer Intel-1 knew is based at Schipol.